The Church of England is set to take on the new atheists. And orders are coming from the top that they do.
The Church of England will this week vow to fight “new atheism” in an attempt to combat the rise of secularism and defend Christianity in Britain. Clergy are to be urged to be more vocal in countering the arguments put forward by a more hard-line group of atheists such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, who have campaigned for a less tolerant attitude towards religion. A report endorsed by Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, warns that the Church faces a battle to prevent faith being seen as “a social problem” and says the next five years are set to be a period of “exceptional challenge”. It expresses concern that Christians are facing hostility at work and says the Church could lose its place at the centre of public life unless it challenges attempts to marginalise religious belief.
Let me explain in simple terms why this is wrong, and unnecessary:
1- Arguing with atheists is the same thing as arguing with fundamentalists: both are incapable of changing their minds. Religious fundamentalists are atheists and atheists are religious fundamentalists.
2- The church need not bow the knee to its detractors. If the gates of hell can’t prevail against the kingdom of God, the paltry atheists don’t stand a snowball’s chance. Hence it’s completely unnecessary for the Church to dialogue with atheism. The Church is monarch and atheism is the lowliest of peasants. One may well take note of the other, but the superior needn’t trouble itself with the inferior fleck of a flea.
3- Let the atheists wallow in their ignorance as long as they wish. You can never care more about a person than they care about themselves. If the atheists wish to live as animals, who are we to insist they stop?
C of E, preach the Gospel and let the seed fall where it will. Don’t fret so much about the seed that falls on rocks and in weeds and is eaten by the birds- instead, tend the seeds that grow and produce fruit.